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Charles A. Pascal, Jr.

Charles A. Pascal, Jr., (Chuck Pascal) of Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, was born December 24, 1963. An attorney, Pascal graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree.

School Board Member, 1987-2003

A progressive Democrat, Pascal was elected to several terms on the school board of the Leechburg Area School District and served in that position from 1987 to 2003. As a school board member, he was outspoken on several issues of statewide concern, including tax reform, equitable funding of public education, curriculum reform, reducing commercialism in schools, banning soft drinks in schools, and a number of other progressive issues. In 1990, he led an effort to shut down district schools for a day in protest of the lack of adequate state funding for education in then-Gov. Robert P. Casey's state budget. In 1995, he was elected as a vice president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

He won the Democratic primary election for Armstrong County commissioner in 1999, coming in second in a five-candidate race. However, he fell 285 votes short in the fall, losing to the three incumbent commissioners.

In 2001, Pascal reversed an earlier decision to not seek re-election to the school board after the primary election, and filed suit against the Armstrong County Board of Elections to gain access to the ballot. The case, The Public Interest v. Armstrong County Board of Elections, resulted in a ruling that a provision of Pennsylvania election law saying that a candidate must disaffiliate from a political party in order to run as a "third party" candidate was ruled to be unconstitutional as applied to offices for which candidates may crossfile. As a result, Pascal appeared on the ballot as a candidate for "The Public Interest" party and won re-election to a two-year term. The ruling in the case, which is still binding in Armstrong County, was used again in 2007 when two candidates for the school board supported by Pascal gained access to the ballot on The Public Interest label and won election to the school board in the general election.

Democratic State Committee Member

Pascal was elected to the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee in 2002, and served in that position until 2006. In 2005, he sponsored a resolution at the State Committee which denounced the recently passed Pennsylvania legislative pay raise, which put him at odds with party legislative leaders who supported it, including Democratic State Chair T.J. Rooney.

Mayor, 2006-

Pascal currently is the Mayor of Leechburg, a position to which he was elected in 2005. In 2007, Pascal was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County, winning six municipalities and garnering approximately 15% of the vote in a four-candidate primary election.

As Mayor, Pascal has focused on obtaining grants for the Borough. Some of the grants Pascal helped obtain enabled the construction of a basketball court for public use and the purchase of a new fire siren. He also was instrumental in getting a previously rejected grant application approved in order to complete reconstruction of the Campbell Avenue Playground, which had been closed for several years due to safety concerns.

As head of the police department, Pascal supported returning the force to three full-time officers for the first time in many years, and has supported maintaining the borough's 24 hour a day, seven day a week police coverage. Leechburg is one of only three Armstrong County communities to have full time police coverage.

As Mayor, Pascal is also a member of the board of directors of FLAG, the Freeport Leechburg Apollo Group, a nonprofit corporation focused on revitalization of the downtown areas of all three communities.

Mayor Pascal has also signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, focusing on local action to curb the effects of global warming.

Other

Pascal and two other individuals sued former Lieutenant Governor Robert Jubelirer in 2002 after Jubelirer ascended to the position when Mark Schweiker became governor. Jubelirer was serving simultaneously as Lieutenant Governor and a State Senator, and the suit sought to remove Jubelirer from one of the positions, citing separation of powers issues. The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court rejected the argument and issued a per curiam decision allowing Jubelirer to hold both offices simultaneously.

As a Democratic Party leader, Pascal has criticized the positions of elected Democrats on many issues on which he feels those Democrats are not upholding Democratic "core values." He has been critical of Democratic support for making it easier to turn off people's utilities in Pennsylvania, and making it possible to turn them off in the winter. In addition, he has criticized Democratic support for banning municipalities from creating their own WiFi networks and other telecommunications services.

Legal career

As an attorney, Pascal practices criminal defense and civil law, and is known as one of a handful of attorneys who is an expert in Pennsylvania election law. He made statewide news when he found a loophole in state law which called into question the validity of every parking ticket written in Pennsylvania. As a result, municipalities in Pennsylvania scurried to have their parking meters certified for accuracy, as was required by law. In 2006, Pascal was the attorney in a case which received statewide attention (Kuznik v. Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania) in which he represented several citizens and State Senator Jim Ferlo challenging the purchase of electronic voting machines by counties without voter referendum as was required by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Also in 2006, Pascal represented several members of the board of directors of PACleansweep (a group founded to oppose the legislative pay raise) who sued the group's founder, Russ Diamond. Diamond attempted to remove five of the ten members of PACleanSweep's Board of Directors. Diamond requested the resignations of all board members, and cut off access to those who refused. Ironically, Diamond continued to operate PACleanSweep, with the assistance of board members who had submitted their resignations, over the protests of many in the reform movement.

The board members who did not resign from the board of the nonprofit corporation sued Diamond for violating nonprofit corporation law and the organization's charter. A Lebanon County judge declared that the four board members Diamond attempted to add were not legal directors of PACleanSweep, and ordered that corporate access and voting rights be returned to the rightful Board of Directors.

Pascal also made news in Armstrong County when his former opponents in the 1999 county commissioners' race voted to raise their own pensions by 50% in 2003 as they were leaving office. Pascal filed suit on behalf of more than 50 plaintiffs challenging the action (Bell v. Armstrong County Board of Commissioners). As a result, the action of the commissioners was voided, saving Armstrong County taxpayers over $500,000.

Pascal is an assistant public defender in Armstrong County and also has a private practice of law. He has been the host of "Talk of the Town," on Family Life TV, a local cable television station in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

References

External links

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